Sunday 10 December 2017

Eamon Delaney: FG's five-a-side lads will need shin guards if they want to tackle Burton

Lucinda Creighton: her contributions are sorely missed
Lucinda Creighton: her contributions are sorely missed

IMAGINE if a group were formed for a specific purpose but under the guise of a more innocuous pursuit. In the 1980s, alarmed at the harsh policies of Margaret Thatcher, Tory moderate Francis Pym created a group called Centre Forward to argue for a different direction.

He said it was only a "dining club", a harmless discussion group to "explore policy" but in reality (wink, wink) it was planned to develop into something more substantial. Alas, it stayed as a "dining club", with members quaffing wines and denouncing the leader, but Thatcher was unmoved and Centre Forward ended up not scoring any policy goals.

To continue with the football metaphor, is it to be the same with Fine Gael's Five-a-Side gang? This is the informal group of backbenchers that meets for fun midweek soccer games, but which also has a common perspective close to the party's core views on economics. The members have urged the Government to keep to its troika-driven aim of getting the country competitive again and seeing off Labour demands for a slackening in the programme.

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